For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 31, 2005
President Welcomes Italian Prime Minister to the White House
The Oval Office
11:44 A.M. EST
PRESIDENT BUSH: The Prime Minister and I will make statements. Thank you very much. Welcome.
It is good to have my friend back in the Oval Office. I say, "my friend," because it seems like we see each other a lot, and every time we do, I appreciate your advice and your counsel. Relations between Italy and the United States are strong, and the relationship between our countries is important. It's important for our economies, and I'm pleased to know that trade is -- between our countries is vibrant.
And this relationship is important because the United States has a strong partner in peace. I want to thank Silvio's strong commitment to the freedom of people in Afghanistan and in Iraq. I appreciate his strong vision of peace in the Balkans. In the past, we worked closely together to help the Libyan leader understand that we're living in a different world, a world in which we've got to work together for peace.
So it's my honor to welcome you back, Mr. Prime Minister.
PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: And thank you for coming.
PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI: (As translated) Thank you, Mr. President. It's now a habit for me to come and pay homage to the President of the United States here at the Oval Office. It's always a pleasure for me. And it's a pleasure for me to come and see a friend, the leader of a friendly country.
Italy will be always -- be grateful to the United States for what this country has been doing to free us from totalitarianism in the past century. And it is for us a reason of pride to be next, side-by-side with our American ally in broadening the borders of democracy and freedom in the world, and in order to pursue peace, which is something we all aspire to.
I, personally, admire, very strong, the leadership shown by President Bush. He has (inaudible) the same values and the same principles I have. And he is very consistent in the decisions that he carries on. And I do believe that President Bush and what he has been doing will remain ingrained in history. In a sensitive moment of our global history, he will mark history as the one who had -- he was so farsighted because also within United Nations, he carried out a mission of democracy.
And this is the reason why Italy is a member of the community of democracies and we provide our support and contribution to the Fund for Democracy that President Bush established and which we joined recently in New York.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
END 11:49 A.M. EST